The following post is one I did for New Balance Canada sharing my tips and tricks to get the most out of your recovery day. Check out my post available from New Balance Canada here.
Whether you’re training for your first 5k or your next marathon, you’ve got your weekly training plan programmed, but what’s your plan for your recovery day? While you might have runners’ guilt for taking this weekly break, it’s an important time for the body to repair damaged tissues and replenish needed energy stores. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, even the strongest athletes can weaken.
Check out these 5 tips and your body and mind will recover better and be ready to rock another week of training.
Athletes are great at making sure they drink enough water for performance during a workout, but hydration is something that needs to be maintained post workout for recovery too. Water helps support a variety of body functions needed for quick recovery including regulating body temperature, supporting nutrient intake, ensuring that your joints are adequately lubricated, and helping support damaged cells to reduce inflammation.
Sleep is important for recovery as adequate down time to supports positive mental health and improves muscle repair. Most athletes need between seven to ten hours, however, everyone is different and with everything, it’s important to listen to your own body and give it the rest it’s asking for.
Everything you eat has the potential to help heal or hurt your body. Consider keeping your diet balanced, clean, and junk food free. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation, so instead, help your body heel by considering dark leafy greens, your favourite whole grains, fatty fish, and berries which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
Adding gentle stretching to your recovery plan will help by increasing blood and oxygen flow to your tired muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It will increase your flexibility, while reducing muscle soreness, and speed up the recovery process. Consider checking out a gentle yoga class or performing some of your own favourite stretches in the comfort of your own home.
Use this day to reflect on workouts from the past week. If you use a training journal, consider reviewing your workouts, your feelings throughout the week, and make note of anything to maintain, improve, and of course, celebrate!
Remember that during your workout, you don’t build muscle, you break it down. The building happens during your much needed rest day, so consider integrating these tips into your recovery plan to enter your next week feeling strong, recovered, and ready to work!